Your company website plays an enormous role in determining how people perceive you. Many businesses put up a website and don’t bother to update it, even as website design trends and their business model evolve. You should regularly revisit your website, look at it objectively, and determine whether it’s time to redesign or update it.
The Importance of Your Website
Your website says a great deal about your business and performs a number of functions:
- Education. A business website is meant to inform visitors and give them a clear idea of what you can do for them. Do your pages properly convey your expertise and what solutions you provide?
- SEO benefits. Content on your website makes it easier for your customers to find you. Is your site SEO-optimized? If you have a brick and mortar business, you also have to consider local SEO, which includes a listing with Google My Business.
- Authority. The design of your website makes a powerful statement. A website with an appealing and sophisticated design that’s easy for visitors to navigate makes one statement while a sloppy and confusing one makes an altogether different one.
- Call-to-action. You don’t only want people to visit your website and admire it. You want them to contact you. A call-to-action (CTA) might be an opt-in to your email list, a product page where someone can buy your products or a solid reason to visit your store or office.
Is Your Website Serving its Purpose?
What makes a website effective or ineffective? You probably know this instinctively when you visit other websites. It’s sometimes hard, however, to be objective about your own site. There are several criteria that determine how well your website is doing its job.
Your website’s design includes several important factors.
- Clean design. Every website has its own look that should reflect your brand’s identity. This includes content, images, layout, fonts, colors and other elements. No matter what type of look and features you have, you should strive for a clean, uncluttered look. If pages look crowded and cluttered, it’s distracting for visitors.
- Navigation. It’s essential that visitors can easily make their way around your website. Are menus clearly visible and simple to use, with accurately named pages? The format known as breadcrumb navigation is good for SEO and also makes it easy for visitors to know where they are and how to get around your site from any point.
- Colors. Do your color schemes provide a good contrast between the content and background? Do the colors match your brand’s overall tone and image?
- Mobile-friendliness. Statista reveals that more than half of global internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. This means that websites that aren’t optimized for mobile risk losing lots of visitors. Make sure your site uses responsive design, which means your content can be viewed on all devices. Test your website on multiple devices and make sure all of your pages and features are accessible to everyone.
People nowadays aren’t going to wait very long for your pages to load. As Neil Patel shares, research indicates that 40% of users abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load. The speed at which your website loads can be affected by browser, internet speed and device, but you can always test your website with tools like GTmetrix. Page-loading speed is also a factor that can affect your SEO.
With hacking, malware and identity theft making its way into headlines, website security is an ever growing concern. If you sell products on your website or collect customer information, it’s especially important to have a secure site. Every website, however, should follow some basic guidelines in this area.
- SSL Certificate. Google is now warning visitors using Chrome when sites are not secure. If your website has an SSL Certificate, your URL shows up as starting with HTTPS rather than merely HTTP. Depending on your hosting plan, you may have security services included or you may have to purchase them separately.
- Updated software. Keep all of your software updated. If you use WordPress, make sure you’re using the latest version and also update and plugins you use.
- Use strong passwords. Make sure you and all of your employees use strong passwords for system access and change them regularly. Always change passwords when employees with access leave your company.
Signs That Your Company Website Needs Updating
Here are some questions to ask yourself that provide evidence that your website needs attention.
- Has your business changed since you built your website? If you’re offering new products or services that might appeal to different customers, your website should reflect these changes. This means more than simply listing your new products or business model. You may want a new look to appeal to different customers.
- Does your website appear outdated? If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your website, it may not be up to date with the latest design trends. For example, websites in the 1990s often used multiple primary colors. Today, if you use more than three, it will have a dated look. Clip art and stock images also suggest your site could use some redesigning.
- Do you have a high bounce rate? Your bounce rate is an important metric as it indicates how many visitors are quickly landing and leaving your site. While there can be many reasons for this, it’s always a warning sign that changes are in order.
- Is your content up to date? One of the most glaring signs of a site that needs TLC is that there’s little or no recent content. If your last blog post or announcement is from over a month ago, you need to work on your content strategy.
- How does your site stack up to the competition? Take a look at some of your competitors’ websites and honestly ask yourself how yours compares. You don’t want to mimic the competition, of course. However, if other sites appear more polished, user-friendly or content-rich, this is a clue that your own site needs attention.
The Benefits of Growth Driven Design
For best results, you should think of your website as a work in progress that’s constantly evolving and improving. This approach, known as growth driven design (GDD), ensures that you stay ahead of the curve and keep your website design and content up to date at all times.
While we’ve offered some guidelines to help you know when it’s time to take another look at your company website, in truth you should always be looking for ways to make improvements. As technology, design trends and markets constantly shift and evolve, it’s important that your website reflects these changes.
When you’re ready to revamp, redesign or overhaul your website, RedShift offers creative services that will help you redesign your site so it serves your purpose. We offer bold and innovative designs that will set your brand apart. To find out more about our services, contact us.